The cover of a 1991 Nirvana album "Nevermind" features a naked 4-month-old baby in a pool, appearing to swim after a dollar bill that is pierced with a fish hook.
That baby, now as Spencer Elden (30), is suing Nirvana for child exploitation and pornography, saying the band knowingly distributed the naked picture of Elden as a baby and profited from it.
Now, Spencer is asking for $150,000 in damages from each of the defendants, which include members of the band, Kurt Cobain's estate, photographer Kirk Weddle, Universal Music, Geffen Records, Warner Records and MCA Music.
According to media reports, the cover photo was shot by Kirk Weddle, a friend of Elden's father. The lawsuit also accuses Weddle of producing a "sexually graphic" picture of Elden. It further adds that there was initially pushback against featuring Elden's genitals on the album cover and the plan was to place a sticker over it.
"The sticker, however, was never incorporated into the album cover," the lawsuit stated.
The lawsuit further stated that Elden's parents also never signed a release authorizing the use of the image, and Elden himself never received any compensation.
"Spencer's true identity and legal name are forever tied to the commercial sexual exploitation he experienced as a minor," Robert Lewis, Elden's attorney, writes in the lawsuit.
Lewis writes that Elden has experienced emotional distress and interference with emotional and educational development.
In 2008, Elden, then in high school, NPR reported that he was still struggling to make sense of his public image.
The lawsuit might also come as a surprise for many as Spencer had earlier recreated the album cover’s image as an adult and also has the title of the album tattooed on his chest. He had told The Guardian in a 2015 interview, “It is a weird thing to get my head around, being part of such a culturally iconic image. But it’s always been a positive thing and opened doors for me."